It’s been only a week since I last visited. Despite the memory still clear in my mind, I feel the need to recount our encounter to you and anyone that happens upon my humble note.
Although my first visit was magical, I was not fully convinced. You see, when I saw you last I was distracted by another. I thought that my lens was tinted by the great company I kept. I apologize for doubting you. You showed me that although the other is now long gone, you are still as mesmerizing as ever.
Like so many great things of this world, you have many names and faces – continuously teaching me that no one is purely good or evil, no circumstance simply black or white, and that judgement cannot be ascertained by just one moment.
I wander your haunted streets and venture into your sleepy swamps as you whisper stories of sin and suffering – reminding me of your resilience and resolve to always rebuild. You lure me into hidden seance rooms, enchant me with your voodoo, and let me roam among your district’s gardens. You invite me to walk among your lost ones and help me find Shavasana underneath your historical ceilings.
And how, my dear NOLA, do you make such music that stirs the soul? From Fritzels to Frenchman to Preservation Hall your brass bandsmen and pumping piano men make me move into the dark hours I rarely venture anymore. Your music specifies no audience but commands all (young, old, shy and bold) to listen and dance even if they don’t remember how.
Oh how you tickle my senses – perhaps my tongue and nose most of all! How your chargrilled oysters and butter drip down my chin as they are washed down with another round of ramos gin. Or better still – your gumbo and jambalaya fill me so that my rested head falls on my pillow devoid of desire.
Even then, in the moment before sleep, I am not far from your maddening energy. Houses, cottages, inns and hotels allow me to live your love even in the deepest slumber. And as my eyes begin to flutter, I think before I even leave, how I know, so very truly, what it means to miss New Orleans.